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Scientific authorisations for soil

Soil is defined as organic material which is capable of sustaining plant life and which contains solid organic matter, such as humus, peat, moss, biowaste and bark. It is prohibited under Schedule 6 of the Plant Health (EU Exit) Regulations 2020. Artificial growing media containing organic matter are also prohibited, but not material composed entirely of unused peat. The prohibition applies to soil and growing medium from all countries apart from EU member states, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.

Materials contaminated with soil or organic growing media may also need to be imported under a scientific authorisation, e.g. geological or fresh water samples. 

A soil authorisation is not required for:

  • marine sediments
  • pure and unused peat
  • pure and unused fibre of Cocos nucifera L.
  • pure bark (where the import conditions have been met)
  • pure sand, clay, talc, rocks, volcanic pumice and chalk
  • water that isn’t contaminated by soil or organic matter


Soil authorisations are split into two types: 

Soil for chemical and physical analysis (CPA)

These are issued for work where only chemical or physical analysis is carried out on the specified material.

Soil other than for chemical and physical analysis (NCPA)

These are issued for work which is not limited to chemical or physical analysis and is considered a higher risk. It may entail work such as growing plants within or isolating microorganisms from the specified material.


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